Residents and business operators in the Cessnock and Singleton local government areas are being encouraged to share their ideas for the future of tourism in the Hunter Valley over the next decade.
Feedback can be shared through a survey that will be included in the development of the Hunter Valley Tourism Plan, which will become the next Hunter Valley Destination Management Plan for 2022-2030, to go on public exhibition with Singleton and Cessnock councils.
The Destination Management Plan will be Cessnock and Singleton's blueprint for developing and growing the visitor economy in the Hunter Valley, which currently has more than 1.5 million visitors a year.
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A number of industry workshops have already been held as part of the process. Residents and businesses are now being invited to participate in a short survey to ensure as many people across both LGAs have input.
The survey asks residents and business operators to identify current challenges for the visitor economy and for tourists coming to the area, and what they think is needed in the way of infrastructure, roads, and logistics to assist visitors arriving in the region.
It also asks who residents think the current visitors are and about the kind of visitors the region should be trying to attract.
Singleton mayor Sue Moore said the resilience of the area was well demonstrated through the community's capacity to pull through the impacts of drought, bushfire, flood and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Now is the time to create a strong plan for the growth of the Hunter Valley and Singleton as a regional, national and international destination," Cr Moore said.
"The visitor economy is everyone's business, because we all benefit from more visitors through spending and jobs, as well as more investment in local facilities and the local community.
"More visitors help us to develop more facilities, attractions, our night-time economy and arts and culture within Singleton."
Cessnock mayor Jay Suvaal said community feedback was highly valued and vital to getting the blueprint right.
"It is essential that the people of Cessnock are given the opportunity to participate in this future vision for our region and our city," Cr Suvaal said.
"We want to hear your thoughts because nobody knows Cessnock better than the people who live here.
"Tourism is a significant economic driver for our community and we need to get the mix right and give everyone the opportunity to have their say on this important blueprint to grow Cessnock, its surrounds, and the entire Hunter Valley as a destination."
The survey is available at www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/DMP and closes on Friday, February 4.
The final Hunter Valley Destination Management Plan will be exhibited and adopted by both councils.
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